People on the margins

Another mass shooting, this time in my home, Washington DC., has generated another round of shock, sorrow and seeking of answers. The issues are complex, and we will never know what was in the mind of a shooter who is now dead. But one aspect to consider is the problem of people who are socially isolated.

I’ve written in this space before about the work of Nicholas Christakis and others, who analyze social networks and the interconnections of people to see what influence we have on ¬†each other. They have come up with some surprising findings about just how much we can impact other people in our network, whether we know them personally or not.Hand Reaching

Today, Nicholas and Erika Christakis have a thoughtful op-Ed in The Washington Post about the position of the loners on the periphery of our social networks, and how the loneliness and/or isolation of those people can have a negative effect on all of us, whether they turn to violence or not. Read it, and reach out.